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stuck in park?

I don't know if I should have this in the electrical or drive train section but I suspect my problem is electrical.

I drove my 88 for about a week after finally taking it out of the garage and all was great until I came home Tuesday and parked it. When I got in the car Wed. it wouldn't come out of park so I drove my truck to work and looked into it that night. I had noticed that the T handle shifter button was sticking a day or so earlier but that seems fine now. When I checked the brake lights they would come on for just a second and then go out even though the pedal was depressed so I assumed it might be the switch. I crawled under the steering column and when I took the brake light switch off one of the wires broke off, I believe it was broken and barely touching before that. I changed the switch and plug today and now have normal brake lights but I'm still stuck in park.
Does anyone know if an 88 cougar would have a manual shift interlock release button?
If I could just get my Cougar into the garage and move it from the area it's blocking my drive that would be helpful.
Any other thoughts on the next step in diagnosing this?

Thanks Charlie

stuck in park?

Reply #1
Pull up hard on the shifter handle. It is just a compression fit, assuming you are talking a floor shifter (which it should be).

More likely then Not, the little plastic rod that goes through the handle broke. Jam something down in the to depress it more, and see if it comes out of park. If it does, that rod is broken. They are getting hard to find and are pretty rare. Most people now I think pay good money for a new one, or they jam something down in there to keep it depressed and just forget about the button.
Quote from: jcassity
I honestly dont think you could exceed the cost of a new car buy installing new *stock* parts everywhere in your coug our tbird. Its just plain impossible. You could revamp the entire drivetrain/engine/suspenstion and still come out ahead.
Hooligans! 
1988 Crown Vic wagon. 120K California car. Wifes grocery getter. (junked)
1987 Ford Thunderbird LX. 5.0. s.o., sn-95 t-5 and an f-150 clutch. Driven daily and going strong.
1986 cougar.
lilsammywasapunkrocker@yahoo.com

stuck in park?

Reply #2
Quote from: Haystack;466439
Pull up hard on the shifter handle. It is just a compression fit, assuming you are talking a floor shifter (which it should be).

More likely then Not, the little plastic rod that goes through the handle broke. Jam something down in the to depress it more, and see if it comes out of park. If it does, that rod is broken. They are getting hard to find and are pretty rare. Most people now I think pay good money for a new one, or they jam something down in there to keep it depressed and just forget about the button.

Thanks for the help. When I pulled the handle off there is the plastic rod that you describe, it's white with a rounded tip which is just about flush with the hollow handle of the shifter. When I push this in the Cougar does shift and come out of park. It stays in unless I try to get it to pop back up in which case I'm stuck in park again. The push control button doesn't want to stay in now and I'm not sure what was holding it, there is a spring inside that pushes it back out. I'm guess that the rod would normally pop up into the hole on the control button which would keep it in place. Do you have any idea what the part number is for this rod or where I might find one? Do you think I'd have to take the shifter and console out to replace it or just pull it up with a pair  of needle nose plyers.


stuck in park?

Reply #4
The rod slides out. Pull it out carefully with needle nose pliers. Clean everything up really well. Make sure the rod itself isnt broken. All the grease collects dirt over time and gets stuck. You have two options.

If your lucky, you should be able to just clean everything up really well and then lube it back up. I like white lithium grease, but its a bit expensive.

Or jam it back down in there so it always shifts and forget about the button. This will allow it to pop out of gear just by bumping the handle.

Good luck, let us know how you make out.
Quote from: jcassity
I honestly dont think you could exceed the cost of a new car buy installing new *stock* parts everywhere in your coug our tbird. Its just plain impossible. You could revamp the entire drivetrain/engine/suspenstion and still come out ahead.
Hooligans! 
1988 Crown Vic wagon. 120K California car. Wifes grocery getter. (junked)
1987 Ford Thunderbird LX. 5.0. s.o., sn-95 t-5 and an f-150 clutch. Driven daily and going strong.
1986 cougar.
lilsammywasapunkrocker@yahoo.com

stuck in park?

Reply #5
Just FYI, the p/n of the plastic rod is E7SZ-7E148-A. It's pretty much unobtanium right now. If you can't find another floor shifter from which to rob it, then you'll likely need to figure out something for your current situation as Haystack outlined above. Sorry...

stuck in park?

Reply #6
Well Haystack it would appear that you were correct. I pulled the rod out but only about 2" came out and I believe it's broken below the second ball, I'm not sure how long it should be but that would only be long enough to reach to the point where the hollow shifter tube curves. I put a screw in that just reaches from the inside of the T handle down to where the rod pushes in enough to allow me to shift so I think that will work for now.
In the meantime I'll begin searching for the part # Eric gave (thanks for that).

stuck in park?

Reply #7
Just a thought but this would appear to be a job for a 3d printer. Does anyone know if this has been tried?

stuck in park?

Reply #8
That was my thought. Or just make a metal equivalent (though I've never seen one).

stuck in park?

Reply #9
I have been bugging my dad about making one. He s got like 10 3d printers, built the first couple almost 10 years ago with home depot hardware and motors pulled out of a old printer.

Getting him to model up a part and go through test fitting is a different story.
Quote from: jcassity
I honestly dont think you could exceed the cost of a new car buy installing new *stock* parts everywhere in your coug our tbird. Its just plain impossible. You could revamp the entire drivetrain/engine/suspenstion and still come out ahead.
Hooligans! 
1988 Crown Vic wagon. 120K California car. Wifes grocery getter. (junked)
1987 Ford Thunderbird LX. 5.0. s.o., sn-95 t-5 and an f-150 clutch. Driven daily and going strong.
1986 cougar.
lilsammywasapunkrocker@yahoo.com

stuck in park?

Reply #10
Even if you do find a good shifter rod, I find most of them are either about to break or really brittle. We need to find a new source for these.
Quote from: jcassity
I honestly dont think you could exceed the cost of a new car buy installing new *stock* parts everywhere in your coug our tbird. Its just plain impossible. You could revamp the entire drivetrain/engine/suspenstion and still come out ahead.
Hooligans! 
1988 Crown Vic wagon. 120K California car. Wifes grocery getter. (junked)
1987 Ford Thunderbird LX. 5.0. s.o., sn-95 t-5 and an f-150 clutch. Driven daily and going strong.
1986 cougar.
lilsammywasapunkrocker@yahoo.com